Enjoying our time together in Nerja

After travel stress, we begin our study abroad in Spain

Terrible weather in New York caused extra travel stress for our Nerja group. My flight to JFK almost needed to be diverted to refuel, but thankfully arrived in time for the group flight to Spain. At the airport I met Alisha, Maura, Sam, and Zachary initially. Sam told me that he actually did have to land and refuel in Syracuse, but he made it on time and was good to go. Matt joined us last because he flight was heavily delayed due to the weather. His flight was so late that there was no time for his bag to be checked in, but our staff person in New York helped retrieve it.

It was great to meet the students. They were all a bit nervous about what to expect; the group, the language, the food, the host families, etc. I showed them photos of what they would be seeing as I had just been there the week before with the ECI Salamanca 1 group. They then became more excited than nervous. On the plane, most slept and watched movies. I slept and had dreams of the tapas I will be eating back in Spain.

Our arrival in Malaga

We finally arrived in Madrid and had a small layover before heading to Malaga. We met Delilah at the airport in Malaga, and then there were 6. We jumped on our enormous bus and headed on our hour-long bus ride to Nerja. All along the way we had glimpses of the Mediterranean Sea and whitewashed houses on the hills of seaside towns.

When we got into Nerja, the students were picked up by their host families and whisked away to go eat lunch. We all had big appetites by that point. Olivia and Rebecca would not be arriving until tomorrow (Monday) due to terrible weather and their flight being canceled. Pobre chicas!

Getting to know Nerja with Language Partners

Later in the evening the students were introduced to their language partners. These are young Spaniards who do activities with the students and show them around town and the students get a chance to practice their Spanish conversation skills. Our first excursion was a tour of Nerja to learn all the necessities; pharmacy, ATMs, best beaches, and of course best ice cream shops.

Later that night we all went out for ice cream. One of my favorite pastimes in Spain for sure! Most had already had ice cream earlier in the day but didn’t turn down a chance to have some more. YUM! They had all gone to the beach and were so excited for the chance to spend 2 weeks in this beautiful location. Then it was off to bed since the next day was the first day of classes!

First day attending language school classes

The students started the day with short interviews to asses their correct level, which of course made everyone a bit nervous. No worries they did great and I believe that everyone is in the level they belong.

Classes went well, and we jumped into our first briefing meeting where I explain the day’s activities. We have our meeting in the common area of the residence/club where some of the classes are held. In this first meeting another student from one of the classes sat in our circle while I went over the orientation including the rules and regulations for the trip. I used her as an example of someone being rude and not paying attention and said I would most likely need to contact her parents for lack of participation. Now every time we see her we all laugh and joke about how she is not fully participating in group activities. HA!

Free time by the beach

Later they were all eager to go get lunch and have free time at the beach. By this time they have all bonded and are doing things together. All smiles and fun to be had in Nerja. Olivia and Rebecca finally arrived and after they relaxed in the morning Patricia and I met them at the school to go over everything. And then there were 8! They were a bit apprehensive about fitting in with the group but I told them not to worry. No to worry indeed, when they met the group later it was as if they had been together the entire time.

The rest of the day was free to do what they wished, which meant beach time. Matt, Patricia, and I ran around to replace items he needed until his suitcase arrived. The boys had lent him some clothes until now and he had already purchased swim trunks and flip flops, so he had the basics, we just got the rest. All set now and we expect the bag to get here by the end of the week.

Visiting the Plaza de los Cangrejos

Later in the evening we visited the Plaza de los cangrejos or Plaza of the Crabs where there were a ton of people dancing, kids playing on a bouncy castle and people sitting and eating in the square. As soon as we arrived the girls were up and dancing while the boys watched on. Then we went to the beach and played a bit of soccer. Delilah had bought a beach soccer ball earlier in the day. Fun!

On Tuesday we started with classes then our daily briefing. We had our favorite “other” student attend the meeting again and actually had someone else join the group as well so we moved it outside.

After more beach time we had our “Introduction to Spain – then and now” by Olivia and Sam’s Spanish teacher. They all understood most of the talk and participated when asked questions. Good job groupo! Then back to the beach!

Salsa lessons with Paco

Later that night we met for our first salsa lesson with Paco, who is one of the language partners and quite a good salsa dancer. Paco started right away and we were off and dancing. Everyone got into it and had a ton of fun. The boys were paired with the girls and Paco had to bring in one of his friends to even it out. Before the friend showed up the girls would rotate with the boys and dance with Patricia. They all did great! All future ‘Dancing with the Stars’ participants for sure (well I guess they need to be stars first… details).

Today is Wednesday and I have just dropped them off at class so more to come, but a sneak peak at today is cooking class for dinner and we are making paella then a scavenger hunt in the evening-yes, all in Spanish!

– Marya Kahan, US Leader

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